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Found in the Basement of 85-31 115th St.

The faded inscription on the outside of the testimony.

My mother contracted to buy the Richmond Hill house “as is,” and it was full of stuff at the time she moved in. Most of the furniture I grew up with was in the house before any of us arrived. Many other things were there too – and are still there, in fact. There are quite a number of old letters and papers, pertaining to people we don’t know, and whose relationships are not clear to us. Edith Hull, who married a Mr. Pearl and became Edith Hull Pearl, was (I believe) the owner of the house previous to my mom; but there are many letters of the McLarty family – how they got here I don’t know. Here’s an example of these papers, a “conviction” or testimony of a Christian nature, written by John McLarty in 1881 to his son (also named John). There are a number of spelling errors, which I have preserved, and in general he doesn’t seem to quite finish thoughts or put in periods.  The document was written at 208 Lorimer Street in Brooklyn, a house which no longer exists. How it got here to Richmond Hill I don’t know.

Inscription on outside:

(selected) Thoughts on the use and value of a Liturgy in public worship
recommended to my Dear boy John McLarty
John McLarty
May 23 1881

Inside:

May 23rd, 1881. My views and thoughts on the use and value of a liturgy as a sistem of Divine Worship.

That branch of the Church Catholic, which I recognise, to which I am devotedly attached, and in which it has been my good fortune to be baptiesed, brings to her daily use, the rich treasures which her children have, during all these ages been gathering for her
How rich the Church is in historic, hallowed memories, how rich in noble works and deeds in philanthropic institutions, in great and honoured names, how rich in the blood of her martyrs and how especially rich in those inspiring hymns, and anthems, and prayers, which seem to bring as it were, the departed saints of old, back to our assemblies, so that those who are here, and those who are there, can worship God once more in the same transporting strains
There are many reasons why I cling with an increasing tenacity to those grand and sublime bursts of praise which have come echoing, rolling, down to us through the ages,
The Litany that incomparable formula of universal petition and prayer, who is there among us that would willingly relinquish it – that angelic strain the Gloria in Excelsis how could we part with it, and how could we replace it, and the noblest and the richest of them all, that sublime and soul inspiring anthem the Te Deum Laudamus why I cling to that as a child would cling to a venerable Mothers inherited blessing. Our modern hymns and songs of praise, grand and beautiful as many of them are yet they can never take the place of those sublime outbursts of praise sung by the saints of God, throughout the ages,
When I sing the songs of Sion I would have the hymns that cheered and encouraged the saints of old in their pilgrimage heavenward, I would have the hymns the martyrs sang on their way to the stake, I would have that angelic strain of the heavenly host, sung ages ago in the dawn of Christianity on the hillside of Judea
I think it impossible for our modern Church in our day to make another Te Deum at all comparable with the one we already posess. Before we can make another such soul inspiring anthem as that we must reverse the wheels of time we must have the shadow on the dial go backward, we must recall the sainted dead, we must rekindle the fires of persecution and restore the martyr age, we must arouse the spirit of that rushing mighty wind of pentacost, and awaken anew the lingiring echoes of the angelic song. We must visit the lowly manger and behold, even while the Magi present their offerings of gold, frankincense and myr, we must visit the dark and gloomy sepulchre even before the Angel watch have left their appointed places, we must reach the brow of that Holy Ascension Mount of Olivet, even before the cloud and the Master has vanished from our sight, then and then oh only may we hope to make another such Anthem, so glorious, so full of the breath of inspiration,
I trust the day is comeing, not far distant, when a broader, more healthy and comprehensive view of our sistem of divine worship will be more jeneraly known and accorded us and yet more adopted by our esteemed dissenting brethren, that those exemplary Christian bodies around us will ere long discover that they have unwittingly given up part of their dowry, when they will consent to the use of those time honoured, beautiful and reverent firms [forms?] and simbols which add beauty dignity and reverence to divine worship and which are the common birthright of all the saints of God. I have often considered the public worship of our dissenting brethren rather cold and negative, too unobjective and impoverished in its surroundings, too bald and bare,
I think the public worship of the sanctuary should be warm and positive, objective, in its lessons, and simbols, and rich in all its surroundings and appointments, responsive in its rendering, and common to all engaged therein,
We very properly think it right, devout and reverent to unite in the hymns of praise, why not also unite in scripture reading and in the common prayer of the sanctuary.
I think we might at least gather as it were around the feet of our Blessed Lord at his, the Christian Alter, and offer to him in an audible, responsive manner that beautiful, comprehensive prayer he had taught us to observe such and even more than such are my views and honest, reverent conviction in regard to the public worship of Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, Maker of heaven and earth.

John McLarty
May 23rd, 1881
208 Lorimer Streeet
Brooklyn E [20?]

The whole document. It’s attached with a tack.